Next race: March 15, 2015


Albert Park, AU

16˚ 61˚ CURRENT
Caso Ediface Logo

RACE DISTANCE: 307.574km


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The ‘Beast’ unleashed

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After one of the shortest turnarounds in the team’s history the cover at last came off the RB11 this morning to reveal a new testing livery as the new car began pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.

"I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel," said a beaming Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the reveal. "You never know until you drop it on the track but I hope it's a bit of a beast."

After a 2014 season of seismic change in F1 technical regulations the rule book has been left largely intact for this season and the RB11 builds on the strong development work conducted by the team last year as it took the RB10 from a difficult start to an eventual second place in the Constructors' Championship.

"It's been an organised winter," said Team Principal Christian Horner. "We're pushing to the limit as usual. We have been on a very tight timescale for the car to be prepared in time for the first test, but that's normal in this team. If you're not on the limit you're not trying hard enough."

Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey added: "[The design of the RB11] has been very much about understanding what we learned from last season, which was a big regulations change as far the power unit is concerned and the packaging that goes with that and setting about optimizing the car from those lessons."

At a glance, the shape of the RB11 may appear little different to it predecessor, with only tough new regulations governing nose dimensions visually differentiating it from the RB10, but according to Chief Engineering Officer Rob Marshall, it's beneath its black and white surface that the upgrades have been wrought.

"There are some changes that affect the shape of the front of the car but beyond that most of the changes are under the skin," he explained. "We've identified the areas where we can make improvements and we've worked hard on these. There won't be a lot that's visible to the naked eye bit a lot of hard work has gone into the bits that are hidden."

A large part of that work has involved a slew of improvements to Renault's Energy F1 power unit, updates that have been made in closer collaboration with the team.

"The relationship with Renault is a lot closer now," said Christian of the team's technical ties with the French manufacturer. "Red Bull is the only partner for Renault now, with ourselves and Toro Rosso, and that focus from Renault together with a close involvement with our design team is yielding good results and a far closer integration between the power unit and the chassis side. Working in unison with Renault we can really make some steps forward this year."

The real dividends of the closer collaboration and Renault's efforts will take some time to reveal themselves, according to Newey.

"We have been working very hard with our partners Renault to help them develop the engine," he said. "I think it's fair it was our biggest Achilles heel last year and it's something Renault are acutely aware of and something they have been working hard on.

"What we have to remember is that the internal combustion engine and its very complicated associated items – the ERS and turbocharger – are long lead time items. Those are things where if one teams takes an advantage then it takes time to overthrow that or get back on a par with or hopefully ahead."


The honey badger is good, He hasn't done too much damage over the last month or two so I'd say by Melbourne he'll start getting hungry.



TEAM 2.0

It's not only the team's racing machinery that has evolved over the course of the past months.

The team's 2015 challenge will be spearheaded by a new look Red Bull driver line-up, with Dany Kvyat joining Daniel at the wheel of the RB11.

"It's an exciting and dynamic line-up," said Christian. "We know the quality of Daniel Ricciardo following his performances last year. I think he was very much the standout driver of 2014 and put an incredible campaign together.

"In Daniil Kvyat we have an outstanding talent. His campaign again last year was fantastic. The speed, commitment and determination he demonstrated were all the qualities were looking for.

"We've already seen what Daniel Ricciardo is capable of and we firmly believe that Dany has all the same attributes," he added. "They're young, hungry, incredibly quick and I think they are going to push each other very hard throughout the year."

The team has undergone a technical restructuring, too. While Adrian Newey is still very much involved with the team, he divides his time between the team and Red Bull's new Advanced Technologies division, a new technical group has been put in place to take the team forward.

"In anticipation of [Adrian's dual role] we created a senior technology team, led by Rob Marshall, which is assuming some of the day-to-day responsibilities that Adrian previously held," explained Christian. "However, Adrian still performs a very active role within that team and contributes on a daily and weekly basis."

Indeed, the Chief Technical Officer was still deeply involved in the concepting of the RB11.

"I've been slightly less hands on than previously," he said. "I was still very much involved in the layout of the car, the package, and really trying to eke every bit of performance out of it we can do but very much working with the engineering team."

That engineering team is headed by Rob Marshall, who previously held the post of Chief Designer. He now steps up to become Chief Engineering Officer. The group also features Head of Aerodynamics Dan Fallows, Chief Engineer, Car Engineering Paul Monaghan and Chief Engineer, Performance Engineering Pierre Waché.

"Going from Chief Designer to Chief Engineering Officer has been a bit of a challenge, but a good one," admitted Marshall. "Adrian has stepped aside to a certain extent so it's fallen upon on me, Paul, Pierre and Dan to fill in the areas that Adrian has moved on from, so we've formed a technical group to make the decisions that he would have made on his own in the past."

For Newey the development is a positive one, for himself and for the team.

"I'm stepping back a bit, getting involved in other things, so that Formula One isn't my sole focus. That's good for me, for my own stimulation, but it's also great for the team, the team just below me, because it gives them the chance to flourish and develop and really show their mettle.

"I was still going to races and I will certainly be at the first race and at the pre-season tests, overseeing, guiding and mentoring and still trying to come up with some ideas of my own as well."

The first fruit of the new process hits the track for the first time today, with expectations high but tempered by the knowledge that the challenge ahead is tough.

"This year will really be about us continuing to move forward to try and reduce the deficit we suffered at times last year," said Newey. "If we can manage the odd win as we did last year it would be fantastic but we can't count on it. It will be a season on which we very much try to extract the most we can and build for the future."

For Christian, it's all about putting closing in on the team's rivals ahead.

"We know what we're aiming at, we know what we need to achieve and I believe that we should be able to close down the gap to Mercedes," he said.

"Certainly I think we'll make inroads in the first part of the year and with the new development open to us on the power unit during the course of the season hopefully we can continue that trend across the full season ahead. Our target is to close the gap and put Mercedes under as much pressure as possible."

As for the drivers, there's a tangible impatience about both; a straightforward desire to put all the talking behind them and get behind the wheel of a new car.

"It's going to be very exciting to drive a Red Bull racing car for the first time for me," said Daniil who'll get his first taste of the RB11 tomorrow. "It's a fantastic opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to finally getting into the car. It's going to be cool.

"In a way it's starting from zero, though many people in the team know me quite well there is still the challenge of entering a new team for myself. However, I haven't really set any targets for 2015. I just want to keep doing the best job possible with hard work and the right attitude and that's the best thing I can do."

On joining forces with Daniel for 2015, Kvyat added: "Me and Daniel have known each other for quite a long time - about five or six years – from when I entered the Red Bull Junior Team. We have a good relationship and I hope to have a strong relationship based on healthy competition, which will push the team forward."

For Daniel, a stellar first campaign for the team last year means the new season begin quickly enough.

"I feel really good coming into the 2015 season," said Daniel. "After last year I come in with a bit of confidence and I'm really just ready to keep going from where I left off last year.

"I'm aware that third was a great result in the championship but I would love that big trophy and a few more trips to the top step," he added. "First, look at the wins, try to rack up a few more of those and hopefully that results in a good title fight."

And he reckons that his alter ego, the Honey Badger, is ready for that battle.

"The honey badger is good," he laughed. "He hasn't done too much damage over the last month or two so I'd say by Melbourne he'll start getting hungry. You obviously want to save a bit for the beginning of the season. He'll have a pretty good appetite by March."




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